5 Deadly Medical Errors and How to Protect Yourself
Medical Negligence on the Rise Under Obamacare
The level of trust between patients and doctors is at an all-time low.
You could blame the mainstream media and the way they sensationalize medical malpractice cases.
On the other hand, you might blame mainstream medicine itself. After all, medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the country, topped only by cancer and heart disease.
But there is something more at work here. The rise in medical negligence can be traced back to the growth of government involvement in our healthcare system.
And under Obamacare the level of government involvement in your healthcare is on a meteoric rise. And not in a good way.
Being a Doctor is No Longer Desirable
The attitude between patients and doctors is shifting.
And it’s changing in a way that could put your health at risk.
Not so long ago, being a doctor was a coveted position in society. Doctors were wealthy and respected. They did rewarding work and enjoyed recognition within their community.
These days, being a doctor is just another job. And in surveys, most doctors express unhappiness with their profession, going so far as to say they would discourage people they care about from pursuing a career in medicine.
Only 6% of doctors reported having a positive morale about their position. Six percent! That’s abysmal.
It gets worse, though.
Eighty-four percent said their incomes hadn’t risen in years or had even declined. More than half lamented that they couldn’t spend enough time with patients because of paperwork. (The average doctor spends $83,000 a year complying with insurance company and government paperwork.) Half said they planned to cut the number of patients they see or leave their practices altogether.
And, let’s see … under Obamacare:
- Doctors will receive lower payouts for procedures covered by Medicare and Medicaid.
- Doctors will have more paperwork than ever.
- More doctors will flee the medical field … and fewer new doctors will line up to take their place because the profession doesn’t have the appeal it once did.
It’s a bad time to need medical care. Odds are high you’ll be seeing an overworked doctor who is stressed out by her financial situation and already considering retirement.
Do you think you’ll have 100% of her focus? There’s almost no chance.
Under Obamacare, now more than ever, you have to be your own advocate when seeking medical care. The climate right now is the perfect storm for medical negligence to occur … and that could have disastrous consequences for you or for your loved ones.
The Top Five Deadly Mistakes That Doctors Make
Under Obamacare, millions of new patients are going to seek medical care. But the law does not provide an adequate means to increase medical staffing in response.
This will lead to longer waits, shorter visits, tired doctors and nurses, and a higher chance of medical errors. You have to be on the lookout.
Your best defense is to know the mistakes your doctor is most likely to make. The top five ways that a doctor is most likely to put your life at risk are …
1. A Wrong Diagnosis: This is the most common form of medical negligence. A doctor thinks he knows what’s wrong with you, but he’s mistaken. He gives you the wrong treatment, which can further complicate your real condition.
Protect Yourself: Ask many questions about why your doctor thinks his diagnosis is correct. Seek a second opinion before receiving treatment.
2. Unneeded Surgeries: Your risk of infection, complications, and death goes way up whenever a surgery is involved. The anesthesia, the open wounds, the chance of something being left in your body. Yet some experts project that up to 20 percent of the surgeries performed in the U.S. each year are not medically necessary.
Protect Yourself: If surgery is the recommendation, always, always get a second opinion.
3. Unnecessary Tests: Doctors run tests like crazy for two reasons. First, they feel like running tests will protect them against malpractice suits later. And second, tests yield income. But tests also increase your chances of developing an infection. In this day and age of antibiotic resistant infections, that can be deadly.
Protect Yourself: Always clarify why the doctor is recommending a test. If her reasoning doesn’t seem sound to you, ask more questions. Ultimately, you determine whether or not the test is run, so don’t be afraid to refuse if the test seems unnecessary.
4. Drug Mistakes: According to one report, sixty percent of patients are not given medication on a proper schedule while in the hospital. Thousands of other patients receive the wrong medicine or in the wrong dosage.
Protect Yourself: Make a list of medications, drugs and dosages. Ask to speak directly with the hospital pharmacist or with your regular pharmacist. Make sure no medical interactions are likely to occur and that the medicines you are receiving are actually meant for your condition. Ask your nurse often if your medication is on schedule. Ask a friend of family member to keep track for you if you are not up to the task.
5. Obvious errors: These are the horror stories. Where a doctor leaves something inside you after surgery or operates on the wrong side of your body. They should never happen, but they do.
Protect Yourself: Before you ever find yourself in need of medical care, do a review of all the hospitals in your area. Find the one with the best track record in terms of patient care and outcome and that has a good nurse-to-patient ratio.
Medical negligence is a killer. And it will only get worse under Obamacare. Become your own advocate and cut down on your risk of falling victim to medical errors.